My Favorite Homemade Carrot Cake is the best you'll ever have! Freshly grated carrots and a blend of warm spices are tucked in an extremely moist and flavorful cake. The rich and velvety cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement.
This carrot cake is to die for. The tender crumb is moist and fluffy, with just the right amount of soft texture from the bits of carrot woven throughout. And it's even better the next day! Just like my flavorful banana bread. Once you get all of the delicious spicy flavors together and let them marry over night, they become super-charged and this easy carrot cake is even more flavorful on the second day. My homemade cream cheese frosting is easy and delicious, you'll want to use it on everything!
Do you love carrot cake as much as I do? You have to try my pineapple coconut carrot cake! Also paired with cream cheese frosting, it's such a surprisingly delicious combination!
Homemade Carrot cake
- Sugar: I use a mixture of granulated and light brown sugar in my carrot cake for a richer, more full-bodied taste.
- Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger - for DELICIOUS flavor!
- Vegetable oil: Can also use canola oil - any neutral oil.
- Freshly fine grated carrots: Please grate fresh carrots, if possible. Pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store are dried out most of the time.
Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream cheese: Use blocks of real cream cheese, not the spreadable kind. Full fat works best in this recipe! Just like in the frosting recipe for my easy banana bread recipe.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
Elevate your carrot cake by trying these yummy variations!
- Nuts: Add chopped pecans or walnuts to your carrot cake batter for an extra crunch.
- Shredded coconut: Fold into batter with shredded carrots. Just like my pineapple coconut carrot cake!
- Bake this recipe as cupcakes. Makes about 24 cupcakes. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
How to make the best carrot cake
Step 1: Whisk the dry ingredients together to aerate.
Step 2: Make a well in the center and mix in the wet ingredients. Fold in the grated carrots. Distribute the batter evenly into prepared baking pans.
Step 3: Bake! Then Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Stop 4: Beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Assemble and frost the cooled cakes.
Freshly grated carrots: Please grate the carrots yourself for the best results.
Do not over-bake: Your cake will come out dry.
Be sure to line pans with parchment AND grease + flour your pans. This method will ensure your cakes will release from your pans perfectly with no issues.
This simple carrot cake recipe is oil-based, rather than butter-based. This helps to keep it moist and lasts for days.
Yes, you can! Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.
Yes! And I actually recommend this! The cake tastes even more flavorful on the second day once the spices get to meld together.
If carrot cake is frosted with cream cheese frosting, then yes, this moist carrot cake will keep fresh for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If the carrot cakes are unfrosted, they can be left out at room temperature covered tight.
Freeze cooled, unfrosted cakes individually wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Place in a resealable, freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. Prepare frosting fresh.
Yes! Make this carrot cake recipe gf by replacing the flour called for with a 1:1 gluten free baking flour.
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My Favorite Homemade Carrot Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup light brown sugar or dark
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tbs cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of two 9" round baking pans with parchment paper and lightly grease and flour the sides. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger all together very well.
- Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat the batter until just combined but smooth, don't over-mix. Fold in the grated carrots with a rubber spatula or spoon. Batter will be thick. If you are adding pecans or raisins, do so now. Distribute the batter evenly into prepared baking pans.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking cake at 25 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack so they can finish cooling completely out of the pans. While they are cooling, prepare the frosting.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth with no lumps. Add in the vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time on low until combined. Whip frosting for another minute or so until smooth and creamy.
- Once cakes are completely cool, level cakes, if needed. Place one cake on the bottom of a cake stand or plate facing up. Spread a good amount of frosting on top until completely covered. Add second cake, bottom up, and frost the outside of the cake.
- Frosting tip: Spread one thin layer of frosting around the cake and set it in the fridge. Once it has firmed up a bit, add another thick layer - the frosting looks much more even this way. Also known as a crumb coat.
The provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Accuracy is not guaranteed.